Supporters booking Airbnb's to send Ukrainians money

After seeing families fleeing Ukraine, thousands of people have started booking Airbnb rentals in the war-torn country.  They don't plan to travel there. They're using the platform to get money into the hands of Ukrainians fast.

Airbnb's representatives say they've been seeing efforts like this since Hurricane Sandy in 2012 where donors utilize peer-to-peer platforms to reach people in need.

RELATED: Spring business helping collect donations for Ukrainian refugees

The images in Ukraine were too much for Shaun Carcary to sit by and watch.

"It’s very hard to explain war to two and three-year-olds when their houses are being bombed, and they’re being uprooted and stuff," said Carcary, an Airbnb host in Florida.

He booked an Airbnb in Kyiv.

"We booked a woodworking class with a family that’s been displaced, and we booked a month’s stay with a family. Who knows if the place is even there? They don’t know anymore. They’ve all evacuated," said Carcary.

But Carcary's not planning to visit.

"I figured it was a way to get money in these folks hands instantly," he said.


People across the world are booking Airbnb rentals in Ukraine and sending notes of hope. In just a couple of days, the company says 61,000 nights were booked, pumping $2 million into Ukraine.

"One of the benefits of our platform is we transact in many currencies and this money goes straight to those hosts. We waived our fees," explained Luis Briones with Airbnb.

Concerns have been raised that some rentals may be owned by outside investors or Russians. Airbnb says look for hosts with a history.

"Look for someone who is a private room host, has a history of reviews. There’s also a great universe of Airbnb experience hosts. There are people who do bike tours, history tours, of all kinds," said Briones.


Airbnb's Community Fund says it's also providing refugees 100,000 temporary homes in surrounding countries, raising $1.2 million and 13,000 new hosts.

"These people don’t know what their future holds but at least I feel it's something. And who knows where this might lead in the future, whether it’s today’s food on the table, or starting a whole new life in another country tomorrow," said Carcary.

Airbnb has been helping refugees from many countries find temporary housing for years, including 21,000 Afghan refugees. 1,600 of them were in Texas.

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